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The Sick Rose

Or; Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration

Richard Barnett


A beautifully gruesome and strangely enthralling visual tour through disease in an age before colour photography

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This stunning volume, combining detailed illustrations of afflicted patients from some of the world's rarest medical books, forms an unforgettable and profoundly human reminder of mankind's struggle with disease.

Incorporating historic maps, pioneering charts and contemporary case notes, Richard Barnett's evocative overview reveals the fears and obsessions of an era gripped by epidemics.

Book of the Year, British Book Design and Production Awards 2014

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'Astonishing images of the dissected and diseased … superbly erudite and lucid accompanying text … Here we see unpacked the mortal elements of many anonymous individuals - and by extension our own'
Will Self, The Guardian

'It’s a transfixing, sublime collection of portraits of the highest art'
The Times

'A fascinating, gruesome look at how the medical profession depicted afflictions before colour photography'
The Big Issue

'Appalling, if brilliantly rendered …. A fascinating book, albeit only for those with strong stomachs'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)

Size: 24.0 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 354

Publication date: 2 June 2014

ISBN: 9780500517345

About the Author

Richard Barnett studied medicine before becoming a historian. His writing has appeared in The Lancet, The London Magazine and The Natural Death Handbook. His first book, Medical London: City of Diseases, City of Cures, was published in 2008 and was a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4. His second book, The Sick Rose, published by Thames & Hudson, was the winner of The British Book Design and Production Awards. Richard has also appeared on BBC4's ‘The Beauty of Anatomy’. He is currently Director of studies in History, Pembroke-King’s Programme, University of Cambridge and Honorary Research Fellow, UCL.